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'God's banker' death case reopened

It was thought Calvi had committed suicide
It was thought Calvi had committed suicide

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ROME, Italy -- The Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London 20 years ago was murdered, a new inquiry has concluded.

It was long thought that Roberto Calvi -- dubbed "God's banker" -- had committed suicide.

But a new autopsy concluded that Calvi was strangled near the bridge and then hung from it, sources said.

Judiciary sources in Rome told Reuters on Friday that the results of the autopsy will now be reviewed by two judges who will decide whether to order a murder trial .

Calvi, whose body was found on June 18, 1982, had been chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed in 1982.

He was renowned for his close ties to top-ranking Vatican officials and was suspected of having links to the Mafia.

Bricks had been placed in his pockets to weigh him down.

The fresh report is said to conclude that Calvi's neck bones did not show the kind of damage that would have been caused if he had hanged himself from a rope.

It also found that his hands and fingernails were clean.

If he had stuffed bits of brick in his own pockets and climbed a rusty scaffolding to hang himself, there would have been traces, the report said.

During the original investigation into the death, a coroner in London ruled that it was a suicide case, although a second coroner recorded an open verdict.

An initial investigation in Milan also concluded Calvi had committed suicide, but the case was later reopened in Rome.

The new post-mortem was ordered in 1998.

Calvi's body was exhumed and examined by an international group of forensic specialists using modern technology, the judicial sources said.

Earlier this month, Italian newspapers reported police had found a safety-deposit materials belonging to the banker that could provide more clues about his death.

Investigators suspect Calvi was killed by the Mafia for failing to repay their "deposits" on demand.



Reuters contributed to this report.


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